Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

From the collection of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois

Letter from Althea Yager to Manley Stacey – January 22, 1863

Chicago Jan 22 /63

My Dear Friend

I received your letter this evening forwarded from Clifton. I was very happy to hear from you, as it is the first time I have heard anythin of any of the N.Y. regt since they left Chicago. I guess you think I am wedded to Chicago. I intended to have been home several weeks ago, but Mr & Mrs. Stone, went East and I thought I would remain till they returned. I shall leave for home week after next. We missed you very much after you left Chicago, in fact I was very sorry to have the N.Y. Regt go away, as we enjoyed visiting the Hospital, or in doing any thing to relieve the sick, and we only regert that we did not do more. I have not been in Camp since you went away. The 66th Ill, 9th [NY] is a Battery are there still,

We are having miserable weather very muddy and plenty of rain, have had two or three days of sleighing, and then we went on Michigan Avenue to drive. I wish you could have seen the crowd, ther driving. I am learning to skate, with no one to assist me, and I get along very nicely but I always manage to fall. I suppose you hear from home often. I hope your people will not consent to your being color bearer, as it is such a dangerous position and you are exposed enough wherever you are, yet I admire your bravery. where is the 126 Regt. I never hear anything of it. I had a letter from Louise [ ] the other day she is at [Lima] attending school, and is enjoying it very much. I am very anxious to get home, though I expect it is awfully dull, as there have so many left Clifton since I came away, and it never is very brilliant there.

Do you know Charley [Yarlock] of the 111th I forgot what Co he belongs to. he is a brother of John Y- and is a very nice young man. he called here the day before your Regt left

Mrs Stone sends a great deal of love and says you are the only one of th N.Y. Regt that has ever manifested any politeness, as none of the 126 ever [w ] us.

Manley your letter was very interesting to me and I hope to hear from you after, for of course I am interested in “Co D.” Please direct to Clifton for I shall be there.

With kindest regards and best wishes for your welfare, I remain

Your Friend

Althea Yager

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Manley Stacey

born October 29, 1842

died December 26, 1863

Written during the battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863

"When we camped last, we could see the wounded coming in, those that were able to walk, and the cavalry horses coming in riderless. This showed us that something was going on...I think this will be an awful battle very soon and of course we are in for it...It is a sad sight to see the wounded brought in on stretchers, the poor boys all covered with blood & as pale as death.

"Last night at 4 PM we were ordered to march and form in Line of battle on our left. After a great deal of confusion, we got formed and then we were ordered to advance, right in the face of the rebel guns who were firing their grape and canisters into us by wholesale...After a great deal of marching and counter marching, we were ordered to charge on a rebel battery. We were now right in front of our canons, advancing on their guns, the rebel sharpshooters in our rear picking off our officers. This was an awful time the shells taking the men down by ranks. While we were marching, a man was shot, and the Blood was spilling all over my face, it perfectly Blinded me.

"At 1 PM we were shelled by 100 guns, all concentrated on the force supporting the battery. There we laid behind a stone wall, the shells passing over us and killing the men all around me. Three men were killed and thrown across me, covering me with blood. While we were laying here, a shell struck a stone in the wall and killed a man throwing the man across my legs and the stone striking me in the back & doubling me up.

"We have got about 18 men now in the Company fit for duty and 150 in the Regiment. We went in the fight with over 400, and have yet now 150."

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